As a first-born child, I was born to lead and project manage! I moved to the UK from Nigeria after secondary school. I struggled to integrate into the UK. Fortunately, I got access to mentors and relevant government-subsided, lifelong learning programmes. These helped me adapt, meet new people, and plug gaps in my skillset. I credit my interest in financial inclusion and social mobility to my UK immigration experience. I studied computer science at undergraduate and Masters level.
Academically, I excelled at technical topics but knew I would not enjoy a purely technical role. Thankfully, I got the opportunity to formally start my career with JP Morgan’s Graduate Programme as a Business Analyst. It turned out to be an excellent starter role. I worked with subject matter experts to elicit requirements and help create architectural models. The role helped me build my business knowledge and become an effective technologist and partner to business stakeholders. I progressed into project management roles and managed several significant transformation and expansion programmes. One of the projects that have had the most significant impact on my career so far was working on the Barclays Ring Fencing programme. It was a regulatory programme to separate the retail business from the investment bank. It was a 2-year programme with 13 teams globally. I managed the programme from start to finish. It involved running daily calls, handling senior management reporting, learning the entire trade lifecycles of several banking products and much more.I enjoyed delivering this programme. It helped me “fall in love” with my work and build my confidence. And I suppose it showed as I received several industry awards and recognitions for this work.
While at Barclays, I decided to complete an MBA to build my business and strategy knowledge. I studied part-time, so it required good time management skills. Thanks to the MBA, I got exposure to other industries, built my network, and traveled to work on short-term strategy projects. After business school, I set up my own consulting business, The Change Hive. I help Financial Services businesses implement global expansion and transformation projects. Working as a solopreneur is both rewarding and challenging. I have much more autonomy over my schedule than when I was in full-time employment. However, I now need to be more proactive about my growth. I do this by attending smaller, industry-specific events where I meet other experts and interact on a one-to-one basis. I have also been part of Masterminds, and I follow relevant podcasts & YouTube channels.
Reflecting on my experience, I have observed three groups of skills I need to work on constantly. They are clarity of my goals & mindset, commercial/ business development skills, and technical/ change management skills. Luckily, my faith, friendships, and love for learning have been good grounds for developing these. My key career learnings to date have been: Careers are marathons, not sprints, so be patient but persistent, embrace lifelong learning, and be visible – speak up and advocate for yourself.
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